by Matt Slick
One of the dangers of the apologist is falling into the trap of relying on his own intellectual abilities to try to wrestle someone into the kingdom of God. I am sad to say that I have been guilty of this.
Pride hides itself in the heart, so it cannot be seen. When we find ourselves relying on our knowledge instead of God's word mercy and grace, then we have fallen into that trap. It is not reason that converts but God's Spirit. It is not logic that draws us to God but Jesus (John 12:32). It is not evidence that convicts a person of his sins but the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). That is why we need to rely on God and trust that He will use our defense of the truth for His glory and their benefit.
To ignore prayer in apologetics is to be prideful. It is the same as saying we don't need God. But we do. We need to pray for those who are lost, pray for their minds to be opened, pray that God's word will ring true to them, pray that our witness will be strong, and pray that the evil one will not have a foot-hold with them or with us. We are fighting a spiritual battle and need spiritual tools. Prayer is perhaps the most important of them all.
It is the Lord who opens the heart and mind - not you (Acts 16:14). Ask God for guidance (John 14:14). Ask for blessing in your understanding (James 1:5) and your speech (Col. 4:6). Ask the Lord to also open their understanding to God's word (Luke 24:45). This is what He does.
Prayer brings humility to the one praying. It admits dependence on God. If we are humble and depend on God, we are more likely to hear His voice. Prayer means that you are seeking divine intervention. It works power to your words. It changes your heart. It moves you closer to God.
Being a great apologist is not a badge of honor to be worn by the Christian as a demonstration of his intellectual abilities. Rather, it is a response to the calling of God upon all Christians (1 Pet. 3:15) that is to be undertaken with love and humility: love of people and humility before God.
Never let your study and practice of apologetics replace the power - received by faith - in prayer before the Holy Creator. Ask God to empower your words and open the hearts of those with whom you speak . . . and then study and witness to the best of your abilities.